Top tips for planning your renovation project
Tips & Advice

Top tips for planning your renovation project

When it comes to your residential renovation project, it’s perfectly natural to worry about how much things will cost, how you can achieve the best possible lighting and how you can accommodate the most amount of storage. In this blog post, we aim to offer a solution to all those concerns and establish some ways to ensure you can be prepared for absolutely anything.

Costs
When considering your budget, nobody needs any unwanted surprises to come along unexpectedly and spoil the day. Cost certainty is the hardest item to pin down before starting building works but once confirmed, will put you in great stead for the duration of your project.

First things first, ensure you have considered a total project budget; it’s not just about how much your renovation will cost to build, but about several other factors too. Some added costs include planning fees, drawing and design fees, purchasing a site location plan, engineer fees and for more complex projects often Party Wall surveying fees and Utility Authority fees can arise. In addition, there are costs for fitting out a kitchen or other fitted furniture, as well as curtains and blinds if needed.

For home renovation works in particular, there are always unknown entities that will vary the cost of a project once the works have started. Therefore, make sure you are prepared with a contingency sum (a minimum of five per cent of the contract value is recommended) to cover the costs of the inevitable variations. In partnership with this consideration, you’d be very well advised to have a contract in place between you and your builder. Additionally, if your home is listed, relevant works to the historic interests of the building will be exempt from VAT. Yes – don’t forget VAT!

But it’s not all as dull as that. When it comes to design, think about the resources you have available to you and whether they can help you save some pennies. Whether it’s the people you know, the places you can stay at or the materials you can re-use that would otherwise be stripped out and thrown away – there are bound to be some vital things available to you that will help you save on cost.

Lastly – consider how the works on your home could be phased to either help you remain at home for the duration or save you grief and costs in one period of time. It might be worth taking on the loft and first floor now but saving the ground floor and its extension for another year.

Light
Consider every opportunity to bring light into your home, whether it’s from the roof or the main elevations of the house. If you’re building an extension, be careful not to make the existing space dark and uninviting; but sometimes these things happen, so make the space work for you with a utility room, storage space or additional loo.

Some additional tips – having external door heights as high as possible will bring in the most possible light. Extending? Try installing a strip of a long roof lights at the junction between the original wall and the new extension to create an airy, bright feel. Lastly, adding roof lights at the top of your stairs can flood your landings and hallway transforming the experience of entering your home.

Storage
Creating lots of storage space is important for many; cluttered spaces can make rooms appear smaller and more cramped. Try positioning windows and doors to allow for built in cupboards either to be installed as part of the works or to make room for potential storage in the future.

When works begin, ensure cupboard space is not designed to be too deep or inconvenient to get to; avoid a scenario of clashing door arrangements. Cupboards accessible from landings are hugely convenient so it’s well worth considering how each room off a landing will be used and if there’s scope for stealing space for landing cupboards.

The foot of the stair is always a tight spot to get to. But if you’re renovating in the hallway anyway, it will be worth your while to strip off the side partition or paneling off the stair to build a continuous series of opening doors and drawers at the lower end, particularly to make use of that space under the first few stair treads.

If you’re keen to make the most of your roof spaces, it’s relatively cosmetic work to install a ceiling loft hatch and board out over the existing trusses. But removal of the bottom section of each truss (which the ceiling is fixed to) to raise the ceiling up to the underside of the pitched roof is not the straight forward opportunity that it may seem to be. It’s likely the trusses will need to remain as a triangular arrangement in order to maintain their integrity.

Consider a semi-basement or use of floor voids for floor access storage or accessible from the side externally. One last tip – if your rear garden falls away from your house, a raised terrace can provide very convenient garden storage.

Interested to see how Architect Your Home would re-imagine your home? Contact us.

Words by Ben Hebblethwaite, Architect at Architect Your Home

Call us on 0800 051 5304 for a chat.

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